Sunday, October 16, 2011

Leopard Seal!

Jean and I were at Boat Harbour for a few days last week, and while on our usual evening bird-spotting walk round the beach we spotted a seal on the rocks close to the car park. At first I thought it was a washed-up carcass, but when it stretched and yawned I rejected that hypothesis. The large head and very impressive array of teeth immediately suggested a Leopard Seal, a predator of penguins in the Antarctic that turns up in Tasmanian waters occasionally.

Young Leopard Seal at Boat Harbour.
Sound asleep!

Still sleeping.
It woke and displayed teeth, but the camera card was full!

We didn't interfere that night, but when it was still there the next morning and in full view of the car park, I thought it wise to call Parks and Wildlife. To my disappointment they didn't turn up with blue lights flashing, but simply referred me to the head office in Hobart. They asked for a picture (quite easily done: ah, the technology), confirmed my identification, suggested that it was a young animal (a mere 125 kg or so) and thought that it would be gone quite soon. And it was, after the next tide.

Such excitement.